As economies across the globe continue to contract, navies, armies, and air forces are being told, if not, “do more with less” to at least “do the same with less.” Proceedings thus asked sea-service commanders around the world: What innovative efficiencies and economies are you implementing, or considering implementing, to improve force readiness?
Admiral Jose Saldanha Lopes
Improving the Portuguese Navy’s force readiness in an increasingly stressful budgetary environment requires not only a strong strategic-management capability, but also efficient management of our portfolio and projects. We thus have been developing and implementing innovative management models and tools, with the objective of linking strategy to our day-to-day operations.
Strategic management is a transformation process that includes strategy formulation, implementation, and control. It is essential to adapt our navy to the dynamic external environment, be it new threats—for example, increasing piracy—or new opportunities, such as the extension of our continental shelf creating a Portuguese maritime area of 1.5 million square miles, 40 times larger than our land territory. It is also through the strategic management process that we focus on areas where we need to strengthen the Navy’s performance, such as maritime situational knowledge.
Portfolio management is also critical so we may support our investment decisions, making sure they are totally aligned with our strategy. Together with the strategic- management process, it is helping us to do the right things so we can sustain our operational readiness and relevance in the medium- to long-term.
However, navies also need to do things right, and that is why we started developing new approaches to corporate project management, employing a collaborative tool—Enterprise Project Management (EPM).
The most significant innovations introduced in this field are not so much how we execute our projects, but rather on the integrated way we plan, report, control, and update them.
Nowadays, every time a corporate project needs to be executed, instead of having the several involved departments planning and controlling their tasks individually—resulting in several unsynchronized sub-projects—there is now only one project, managed on EPM and shared among all stakeholders through the navy’s intranet.
This new model has been proved in several interdepartmental projects, from new investment plans to the preparation of ships, staffs, and crews to participate in multinational operations.
The results: Higher quality projects with fewer administrative, material, personnel, financial, or informational deficiencies. That translated to improved force readiness. Additionally, it allowed implementing activity-based costing, which supports our efforts in increasing efficiency. Finally, this model is providing integrated information that is then shared among all Navy departments, creating transparency and accountability.
The experience gained in managing interdepartmental projects drove the Portuguese Navy to develop new applications to effectively link strategic management to day-to-day operations, which was considered quite innovative and is being used by Microsoft and Bright Partners as a case study.